ISUZU recently unveiled its new D-Max that is aimed at targeting the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux.

Judging by its looks, it will give both those bakkies a hard time on the South African market.

There’s even more good news, the Japanese automaker has also announced that it will be investing R1.2 billion into the production of the new D-Max – and it will be built in Mzansi.

This milestone development follows Isuzu’s take over last year of the company's light commercial vehicle operations as well as the balance of shareholding in the trucks business.

The decision saved over 1000 direct jobs, 4000 jobs through its dealer network and many more through its base of 430 suppliers in South Africa.

Senior Executive Officer for Isuzu Motors Limited and Chairman of the Isuzu Motors South Africa Board Yoichi Masuda, the current plan is to grow the company’s annual bakkie production to 29 000 units per annum.

“Our decision to invest in the production of the next generation bakkie in South Africa demonstrates our commitment to this market. 

“This is further reinforced by the fact that this operation is the bakkie and truck manufacturing and distribution operation which is 100% owned Isuzu operation outside of Japan,” Masuda said in a statement.

Masuda emphasised the important role the government’s Automotive Production and Development Programme plays in providing predictability and stability for investors when making long-term business decisions. 

Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, welcomed the announcement saying it will contribute massively towards President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment drive.

“This investment shows confidence in the South African economy’s growth potential and will help to secure more than 1000 direct jobs at the plant.”

Japan’s Ambassador to South Africa Norio Maruyama, saluted Isuzu’s investment decision as a concrete follow up action to the South Africa Investment Conference which was held last week.

“This is also an encouraging step towards the achievement of the objectives which were announced earlier this year at the TICAD 7 in Yokohama, Japan.”

“The next generation bakkie will be locally engineered to meet the requirements of the South African and key Sub-Saharan Africa markets,” said Michael Sacke, CEO and Managing Director of Isuzu Motors South Africa.